St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church’s Show Them Love Parade July 9 included visitors from the Plymouth church’s lay ministry program surprising homebound members with balloons and signs of well-wishes. The group gathered to sign posters with a prayer for the homebound and most vulnerable in the community. Each lay minister is trained and has been matched with a homebound member of the congregation, explained Susan Path, parish nurse and lay ministry trainer.

When COVID-19 hit, the ministers weren’t able to make in-person visits and offer holy communion. They began communicating mostly by mail, e-mail and phone calls. Technology was difficult for many and hearing impairment limited good communication.

“We could feel their yearning for connection with others,” she said.

The lay ministers met on ZOOM to brainstorm and plan a parade as a way to let those who were most vulnerable and isolated know they were missed, loved and not forgotten by their church, their friends or their God, she said.

Headed out with balloons, signs with messages, and masks, they were greeted by tears of mixed emotions while faces beamed with joy of being remembered and seen, Path explained.

The team sent SPD hearts to the members they visited to be placed on their windows, porches or balconies to be easily identified during the visit. Lay ministry members walked around buildings shouting greetings and talking to everyone they encountered in the process.

“The joy was evident and the high humidity could not wilt their spirits,” Path said.

The parade visited four senior living complexes and three private homes, gave out prayer cards, smiles, waves, shouts, love connection and caring to all.

“We hope to connect with more of our visited friends this summer in this fashion just to share love, peace and caring,” Path said.

– Compiled by Kristen Miller

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